Facts always help reduce the venom of a dispute

This Guest Editorial is led by Richard Clarke. Richard is the Manager Director of Leverstock Limited, providing specialist telecommunication and IT solutions to the education sector.

We are in an ever-changing world of technology, attitudes, compliance and parents that know best thanks to Google. The task for teachers and headteachers to remain in control of the relationships, the narrative and indeed the class, has never been more challenging. Technology, however, can also be the teaching professionals’ friend. Perhaps the simplest yet most effective tool is call recording, especially when teamed up with truly mobile telephone extensions.

The old maxim says ‘My word is my bond’ but in 2019 that is only legally true if you have a recording of what that ‘word’ was, and in a way that stands as proof in a courtroom.

Thanks to cloud communications technology, this can easily be delivered to any or all school extensions and, via extension mobility, to calls made or received on mobile phones. No longer do you have to bend to unsubstantiated intimidation when managing a dispute that involves the ‘he-said, she-said’ recall from hurried phone conversations.

No longer do you have to wonder if your colleague has created the problem a parent is alleging. Listen back to any call that is in question, produce a copy instantly for parents or colleagues to hear so as to clarify your position, and bring everyone back to a calm conversation.

Compliance has, for some providers, proved to be an additional challenge as we are all required to live within the endless clauses of GDPR. The Education Space delivers a service that complies with all Data Subject Rights and also provides the audit capability required by the Data Manager. Within the boundaries of GDPR, we can strongly manage any dispute which includes telephone conversations from which accusations arise. The system will announce the call is recording, the caller can request the recording to be stopped but at that point the teacher can decide whether to end the call and wait until it can be witnessed in another way or continue without recording as they see fit.

But how can this extend to mobile conversations and what benefits does that bring? So often, headteachers and other staff are required to handle parent queries outside the normal working day. When away from school, a private mobile might be the only option. As well as exposing the teacher’s private contact details, this would normally render the conversation un-recorded.  

Thanks to an ’Over The Top’ application, a teacher’s own smartphone can be used to send and receive calls from their school extension.  This allows you to utilise the call records reporting, the CLI (Calling Line Identifier) number presentation and naturally the call recording services.

For those of us with poor memory or simply too many things to contend with at once, delays between conversations can result in time wasted looking over old notes, assuming you have them to hand. With call record features, you can replay calls so that when you speak to that person again, it is as though the conversation took place only yesterday.

Call recording helps a school team stay ahead of any difficult and developing situations. It offers both transparency and efficiency.  By reviewing past calls with parents or pupil, the management team can gain a full flavour of the problem and the way it has developed, allowing them to better support colleagues or recognize where a parent has a legitimate claim.  

Either way, facts always help reduce the venom of a dispute!